Modernizations to the University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus — including a new dormitory, a quad and a bigger, brighter student center — are headed to detailed planning.
On Jan. 30, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees formally encouraged USM to complete a master plan for the layout of its metropolitan campus with a new central heart.
The concept would include closing down Bedford Street, which currently bisects the campus, and remaking the parking lot outside the Woodbury Campus Center as a lawn-covered quad. Other features would include construction of a new dormitory overlooking the quad and a new student center.
Artist renderings suggest a green hub of activity surrounded by modern buildings.
“It’s really about developing that sense of campus in Portland,” President Glenn Cummings said. “The investment would cultivate retention by bringing affordable, residential student life here in one of the best small cities in the country.”
Harriman Associates — which worked on USM’s Glickman Library, Wishcamper Center and John Mitchell Center — is working on the long-range planning, which will include upgrades to all three campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston.
“We collect data first,” said Clifton Greim, Harriman’s CEO and a member of the USM Board of Visitors. “We’ll take a look at the facilities, at the usable square footage and how it’s being utilized. We’ll also take a look at the campus energy profile.”
It’s work that the Auburn, Maine-based firm knows well.
“We have a really rich history of working with the University of Maine System on a number of campuses, particularly at USM,” Greim said.
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